European Proximity Operations Simulator 2.0 (EPOS) - A Robotic-Based Rendezvous and Docking Simulator


  • Heike Benninghoff German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • Florian Rems German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • Eicke-Alexander Risse German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • Christian Mietner German Aerospace Center (DLR)



The European Proximity Operations Simulator (EPOS) 2.0 located at the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, is a robotic based test facility of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) used for simulation of rendezvous and docking (RvD) processes. Hardware such as rendezvous sensors (cameras, laser scanners) or docking tools, as well as software (e.g. for navigation and control) can be tested and verified. The facility consists of two robotic manipulators with each six degrees of freedom, a linear slide of 25m length on which one robot can be moved in the laboratory, and a computer-based monitoring and control system. EPOS 2.0 allows for real-time simulations of the rendezvous and docking process during the most critical phase (separation from 25m to 0m) of proximity and docking/berthing operations.


Benninghoff, H., Boge, T., & Rems, F. (2014). Autonomous Navigation for On-Orbit Servicing. KI-Künstliche Intelligenz, Special Issue on Space Robotics, 28(2), 77-83.

Benninghoff, H., Boge, T., & Tzschichholz, T. (2012). Hardware-in-the-Loop Rendezvous Simulation Involving an Autonomous Guidance, Navigation and Control System. Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, 145.

Benninghoff, H., Rems, F., & Boge, T. (2014). Development and Hardware-in-the-Loop Test of a Guidance, Navigation and Control System for On-Orbit Servicing. Acta Astronautica, 102, 67-80.

Boge, T., Rupp, T., Landzettel, K., Wimmer, T., Mietner, C., Bosse, J., & Thaler, B. (2009). Hardware in the Loop Simulator for Rendezvous and Docking Maneuvers. In Proc. German Aerospace Congress of DGLR. Aachen, Germany.

Boge, T., & Schreutelkamp, E. (2002). A New Commanding and Control Environment for Rendezvous and Docking Simulations at the EPOS-Facility. In Proc. 7th Int. Workshop on Simulation for European Space Programmes (SESP). Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

Boge, T., Wimmer, T., Ma, O., & Tzschichholz, T. (2010). EPOS - Using Robotics for RvD Simulation of On-Orbit Servicing Missions. In Proc. AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference. Toronto, Canada.

Ellery, A., Kreisel, J., & Sommer, B. (2008). The Case for Robotic On-Orbit Servicing of Spacecraft: Spacecraft Reliability is a Myth. Acta Astronautica, 63(5-6).

Gomes dos Santos,W., Rocco, E. M., Boge, T., Rems, F.,&Benninghoff, H. (2015). Discrete Multiobjective Optimization Methodology applied to the MixedActuators Problem and Tested in a Hardware-in-the-loop Rendevzous Simulator. In Proc. AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference. Kissimmee, USA.

Kaiser, C., Rank, P., Landzettel, K., Boge, T., & Turk, M. (2011). Vision Based Navigation for Future On-Orbit Servicing Missions. In Proc. 62nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

Klionovska, K., & Benninghoff, H. (2016). Visual Navigation for Rendezvous and Docking using PMD Camera. In Proc. 2nd International Conference on Geographical Information Systems Theory, Applications and Management (GISTAM). Rome, Italy.

KUKA Documentation. (2009a). KUKA KR 100 HA Manual.

KUKA Documentation. (2009b). KUKA KR 240-2 Manual.

Mühlbauer, Q., Rank, P., & Kaiser, C. (2013). On-Ground Verification of VIBANASS (VIsion Based NAvigation Sensor System): Capabilities and Results. In Proc. 12th Symposium on Advanced Space Technologies in Robotics and Automation. Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

Nishida, S.-I., Kawamoto, S., Okawa, Y., Terui, F., & Kitamura, S. (2009). Space Debris Removal System Using a Small Satellite. Acta Astronautica, 65(1-2).

Rems, F., Fritz, S., & Boge, T. (2014). Breadboard Model of a 3D LiDAR Sensor for Real-Time Pose Estimation of Spacecraft. In Proc. 9th International ESA Conference on Guidance, Navigation & Control Systems. Porto, Portugal.

Rems, F., Moreno Gonzalez, J. A., Boge, T., Tuttas, S., & Stilla, U. (2015). Fast Initial Pose Estimation of Spacecraft from LiDAR Point Cloud Data. In Proc. 13th Symposium on Advanced Space Technologies in Robotics and Automation (ASTRA). Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

Rusinkiewicz, S. (2001). Efficient Variants of the ICP Algorithm. In Proc. 3rd International Conference on 3D Digital Imaging and Modeling. Quebec City, Canada.

Tzschichholz, T. (2014). Relative Pose Estimation of Known Rigid Objects using a Novel Approach to High-Level PMD-/CCD- Sensor Data Fusion with regard to Applications in Space. Dissertation, University Würzburg, DLR.

Tzschichholz, T., Boge, T., & Benninghoff, H. (2011). A Flexible Image Processing Framework for Vision-Based Navigation Using Monocular Imaging Sensors. In Proc. 8th International ESA Conference on Guidance, Navigation & Control Systems. Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.

Tzschichholz, T., Boge, T., & Schilling, K. (2015). Relative Pose Estimation of Satellites Using PMD-/CCD-Sensor Data Fusion. Acta Astronautica, 109(25-33).

Yasaka, T., & Ashford, E. W. (1996). GSV: An Approach Toward Space System Servicing. Earth Space Review, (2).

Zebenay, M. (2014). Development of a Robotics-based Satellites Docking Simulator. Dissertation, TU Delft, DLR.

Zebenay, M., Boge, T., & Choukroun, D. (2013). Modelling, Stability Analysis, and Testing of a Hybrid Docking Simulator. In Proc. AIAA Guidance Navigation and Control Conference. Boston, USA.

Zebenay, M., Boge, T., Krenn, R., & Choukroun, D. (2014). Analytical and Experimental Stability Investigation of a Hardware-in-the-Loop Satellite Docking Simulator. Journal of Aerospace Engineering.

Cite article as: DLR Space Operations and Astronaut Training. (2017). EPOS 2.0 RvD Simulator. Journal of large-scale research facilities, 3, A107.